2012/04/03

Finally!

Regular readers of this irregular blog will recall it's a loooong time since I had anything positive to say about Oracle and its marketing and support organization.

Mind you: it's not a problem with the folks that man the fort at MOS - or whatever the blessed thing is called this week!

In general I've found them competent and helpful and have actually recommended quite a few for service awards. They know who they are.

It's more to do with those who are supposed to get us technical information and instead regularly regurgitate tired old MOTS - as in More Of The Same - marketing nonsense.

Understand this, please: I have nothing against RAC, Exa%, (con)Fusion and all the other bits and pieces that Oracle has been flogging for the last 9 years or so.

Each has its application and place in this world of IT.

But when I ask their techos and support for information on 11gr2 upgrades, I do NOT want to hear an endless mantra and an interminable peroration on the subject of how well RAC/Exa% brews coffee and works at Telstra/Westpac/CommBank/Amazon/eBay/bleeding-whatever!

Those businesses have nothing in common with what we do, nor is anything they do even remotely relevant to us!

It was therefore with the usual dose of suspicion I received an invitation to attend the recent "Upgrade to 11gr2" seminar in Sydney.

Now, most of you folks know I am not the earliest adopter of new releases. Mostly because I used to do it. Until one day I grew a conscience. And point blank refused to introduce even more bugs at my consultancy's clients. Moving right along, nothing to see here...

11gr2 however has been in my sights for a long time - it really has some nice features - and now that our 10gr2 is about to go the way of the dodo in terms of support, it's time to start looking into it.

Yes, that's right: I'm going to skip 11r1! I know it's nowadays very stable but I have to think ahead more than 1-2 years: whatever upgrade I do now has to last until at least 2016 or thereabouts - we cannot afford the constant re-testing of yearly database software upgrades!

Now, from past experience I know how quickly local "seminars" can degenerate into "dba1.0 vs 2.0" deranged nonsense and other such childish attacks on every dba that doesn't burn a candle to the great RAC/Exa% marketing altar - at least twice a day.

As such I was ready for another day of boring marketing nonsense - hey, I was tired and I needed a break from work, OK?

Needn't have worried. Mike Dietrich and his boss Roy Swonger delivered a sensational seminar, full of exceptionally useful and pertinent information!

And I mean U-S-E-F-U-L!

All the way down to expected problem areas, known bugs and gotchas, snags to be aware of, impact on typical applications, good/bad things to do. All very down to earth and all very techo stuff.

And they did it all without ONCE mentioning we should be upgrading to ASM/RAC/grid/cloud/Fusion/Exa%/whatever!!!

AMAZING!

But not only that. They actually made the contents of their presentation (wow, that link is in Apex!) public and available to all.

MAN! What is going on, mr Oracle? Useful, pertinent and helpful stuff in a technical seminar?

I am almost speechless!

In passing, I must acknowledge and thank the local marketing folks for organizing this and inviting me to attend. They knew we were looking into 11gr2 and this ended up being incredibly spot-on!

I was going to take an ultra-conservative approach to our upgrade process, which would have lengthened it beyond what I'd really like.

But after this seminar I got such great feedback and good information on the concerns I had that I was confident enough to simplify the process somewhat.

Which I did, following the advice from Mike and Roy. And tried and tested it in a small db that I could easily adapt to our brand new sandpit server where I "break" new software.

I'm extremelly glad to report it all worked exactly as those folks said it would, all the way down to the smallest details including the gotchas and little nags that upgrades always bring.

Can only highly recommend other folks looking into upgrading to 11gr2 - or even 11gr1 - to actually download and read the presentation above. Careful: give yourself plenty of time - it is HUGE! Or definitely attend the seminar if it comes your way.

Job well done, Mike and Roy. Thanks heaps for the great information and suggestions and your help in answering some of my concerns.

Made the day worthwhile. Although very tiring! ;-)



Anyways, on to the normal close: some images concocted by yours truly here and there.

This one is from last Xmas, at work:



I love those decorations. Mind you: they are hard to grab in colour, indoors and without flash. But with patience it works.



I like the way some lenses give an almost "night light" effect:



Usually folks shun these cheap lenses but used in context they can be useful to convey and highlight an "end of day" feeling.

The street organ at the Canberra Floriade:



I go there on purpose every year to see this thing and listen to it. It is truly a marvel of engineering and music.

And there is plenty of other fun stuff to do nearby:



although not quite for my age and size anymore... ;-)

Once the Floriade day is over, nothing better than a great steak at:



Catchyalata, folks!

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